Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dysfunction junction

There's a sunny side to every street, no matter how deep in shadow it lies. And so today we can at least say the Indianapolis Colts are not the Dallas Cowboys, who hired Greg Hardy and now perform standup comedy every time they're compelled to defend this miserable creature, who's apparently gifted at only two things: Sacking quarterbacks and marking up the women in his life.

Those photos Deadspin released of Nicole Holder's battered body do not tell us anything we didn't already know about Hardy, a gutless punk who got away with beating Holder up only because he's a professional athlete with the means to buy himself out of his bad acts. And so he was convicted and then the conviction was overturned because, essentially, he allegedly paid her to go away. And now that the case has been expunged ... well, hey. It's all good, right?

But now come the photos, whose role is to speak a million words to the contrary. And also to ensure that Jerry Jones will always sound more like Jerry Lewis when he tries to tell us that the architect of those photos is a "leader."

 It sounded absurd enough when Jones said it to absolve Hardy of assaulting the Cowboys' special teams coach (And how do you think that coach feels about an owner who so demonstrably doesn't have his back?).  Now it just makes him sound certifiable. Somewhere Tom Landry must ralphing in his fedora at seeing this clown show representing the Star.

How bad is it?

It's so bad it makes the league's other clown show look like Oxford by comparison.

That would be the Colts, who, yes, can thank God today they're not the Cowboys. But that's small beer when you consider how deep their own dysfunction goes.

It got so bad this week that the players kicked the coaches out of the locker room and met among themselves. The topic of discussion: How to insulate themselves from the ongoing vaudeville that is Chuck Pagano vs. Ryan Grigson.

Pagano has probably already coached himself out of his job, but what's reportedly being done to him is like flinging a non-swimmer into the ocean and then throwing him a concrete block for a life preserver. Apparently Grigson (and perhaps owner Jim Irsay) are dictating to Pagano what players to play and for how many minutes, all of it based on Grigson's deeply flawed judgment in putting the team together. In other words, Grigson blows the draft and blows free agency, and then forces Pagano to play his mistakes.

It's a ridiculous strategy that has never worked anywhere at any time in pro football, and yet somehow the brain trust thinks it's going to work here. It hasn't, and it won't. All it's done is leave what was once one of pro football's most well-oiled machines in utter disarray. And there is more disarray coming.

Because, if Pagano goes at the end of the season and Grigson stays, what coach with any sort of pedigree is going to agree to those working conditions? Which means the likely scenario is Pagano goes, Grigson goes, Irsay blows the whole thing up and the Colts start over again.

A dismaying thought for a franchise whose stated goal at the beginning of this season was the Super Bowl or bust.

Well. Welcome to bust, boys and girls.  

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